The United States is the No. 1 country to hide money in illegally, marking the first time the country has topped the list.

The U.S. is atop the list as it continues to implement sanctions on Russia and some of its wealthiest elites following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Other countries in the top five included Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Luxembourg, according to the Tax Justice Network's Financial Secrecy Index.


“At a time when the world is being confronted by the very real and tragic consequences of enabling global corruption, these findings point the finger at U.S. secrecy and should be a rallying cry for financial transparency,” said Ian Gary, executive director of the FACT Coalition.

It is not clear how much money is illegally hidden in the U.S., though the Treasury Department had estimated around 2% of the nation's GDP, about $480 billion, was hidden, according to CBS News.

The process of setting up a shell corporation, a corporation without active business operations or significant assets, in the U.S. is an easier process than getting a library card due to applicants not needing to verify their identity, said Lakshmi Kumar, a terrorist-financing expert at Washington think tank Global Financial Integrity.

The U.S. was identified as the second most secretive country for hiding money in 2020. Later in the year, Congress passed the Corporate Transparency Act, requiring corporations and companies to report who owns the corporations and companies to a central directory maintained by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network at the Treasury Department.

Biden administration officials are asking Congress to send $210 million to the network under the government's proposed 2023 budget, a roughly 30% increase from its current funding.


“The U.S. simply cannot afford to slide backwards in the fight for financial transparency,” said Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), the co-author of the Corporate Transparency Act. “To fight corruption, we need to implement the Corporate Transparency Act, and to implement the Corporate Transparency Act, we need to fully fund FinCEN now.”

The Biden administration sanctioned Russian President Vladimir Putin's daughters as well as the wife of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in early April. The sanctions also banned new investments in Russia and introduced full blocking restrictions on Russian financial institutions and state-owned enterprises.